World Science Forum 2022 Media for Social Justice Fellowships

Open Call for Applications

Travel & Accommodation Grant Scheme for Journalists to attend the World Science Forum & Pre-Workshops in Cape Town, South Africa from Saturday 3rd to Saturday 10th December, 2022.

Media travel grants are sponsored by the Fonds de Recherche du Québec.

Media accommodation grants are sponsored by the South African Ministry of Higher Education, Science & Technology

Call Opening 14th September, 2022 & Closing 30th September 2022. 

“Science for Social Justice”

1. Purpose

Created by the Department of Science & Technology (DST) of the government of South Africa, the annual Science Forum South Africa (SFSA) meeting is the largest pan-African general science gathering dedicated to scientific research and innovation. The two-and-a-half-day programme held each December in Pretoria brings more than 3500 participants together for discussion and debate in plenary sessions, panel discussions and interactive talks.

The large exhibition space, where demonstration events are regularly held, allied to a strong social programme, enhances this ‘melting pot’ of ideas, cultures, experiences and connections that past delegate feedback recognises as the hallmark of Science Forum South Africa.

The conference is also backed-up by a dedicated media programme that includes press briefings, targeted interview opportunities and side trips to important infrastructure of national, continental and global significance.

Science Forum South Africa 2022 is being merged with the World Science Forum 2022 and will move to Cape Town with a ceiling of 2000 invited delegates. It will, like previous editions, serve as an open, public platform to debate the science and society interface. Leading scientists, researchers, young researchers, journalists, business people, entrepreneurs and innovators, policy makers, science and technology communicators and the general public will ignite conversations about science. They will discuss new discoveries and debate the direction that research is taking in the sciences, humanities and social sciences.

Speakers and panelists are distinguished and carefully chosen thought-leaders from around the world, drawn from science, academia, government, policy and industry. Whereas the sub-theme and focus running through previous SFSA’s has been on pan-African developments and how they interlink with global trends, the focus of the World Science Forum this December will be global.

The SFSA meeting has quickly established itself as a ‘must attend’ event also attracting a significant number of non-African speakers and partner organisations from Brussels to Beijing and from Toronto to Tokyo. An increasing number of continental groups such as the African Union, the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) or the African Union Panel on Emerging Technologies (APET) attend in force.

Building on this momentum and this exciting SFSA + WSF partnership, new groups such as the International Science Council (ISC) based in Paris, the European Commission’s in-house science services, the Japan Science & Technology Agency (JST) or the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) are actively participating in the event’s planning and execution. In terms of science diplomacy, certainly this gathering will break new boundaries!

2. The media grants scheme

One of WSF2022’s main objectives is to support the profession of science journalism in these quite difficult economic times. Academic courses on science journalism and mentoring programmes run by media volunteers are becoming increasingly few and far between. Particularly in the ‘global south’, where issues of great pride and importance to local, national and regional peoples are all too often a ‘hard sell’ to more international media markets, the WSF2022 theme of “Science for Social Justice” strikes a definite chord.

The Office of the Chief Scientist of Quebec, Prof. Rémi Quirion has come forward to help.

Thanks to a grant from the Fonds de Recherche du Québec, the aim is to bring attention to WSF2022 as an unrivalled platform where print and audio-visual journalists, editors, bloggers and social media can rub shoulders with speakers and delegates to discuss and report on the latest scientific, policy and civil society developments.

Following discussions with the WSF2022 host, the Department of Science & Technology (DST), it has been agreed that the Chief Scientist’s Office will provide US$25,000 exclusively for media flights. DST will cover all accommodation costs. The open call and selection process will be exclusively managed by the World Federation of Science Journalists & SciComMaking Sense of Science.

3. Who can apply?

Any science-interested journalist, irrespective of their gender, age, nationality, place of residence and media (paper, radio, TV, web) are welcome to apply.

Media accreditation will be required, as will proof of recent work and an intention or commission to cover the conference programme.

Candidates will also be asked to provide a few simple lines as to what the conference theme of “science for social justice” might mean to them. As a legacy of WSF2022, it is hoped that social justice might also better inform and become more prevalent in scientific coverage worldwide.

4. Application procedure

To submit an application, follow the link below to the World Federation’s site and click on “Apply for a Media Grant”. Follow the application procedure

On submitting the application form for travel grants, you agree to the full acceptance of the rules and to the decision taken by the Selection Committee.

The deadline for submitting an application is Friday 30th September 2022, 18:00 pm CET.

5. Selection Committee and decision

The Selection Committee is composed of:

  • Milica Momcilovic (Serbian), President of the World Federation of Science Journalists.
  • Buhle Khumalo (South Africa), Chief Director, Science Communication, Department of Science and Innovation, Government of South Africa.
  • Aidan Gilligan (Irish), CEO, SciCom – Making Sense of Science.

The selection of candidates will be global and based on:

  • The applicant’s CV & evidence of recent work;
  • Motivation statement & interest in the conference programme; &
  • Impact of the proposed media outlet.

The Selection Committee reserves the right to remove incomplete applications or candidates failing to adequately prove that they are employed communicators.

Candidates contacting or directly lobbying members of the Selection Committee will be disqualified.

Following final selection by Friday 7th October, 2022 and thereafter discussions with successful candidates, a final list of grant recipients will be posted on the World Federation of Science Journalists’ website on Monday 10th October, 2022.

A reserve list will also be compiled. This will not be posted online, and potential awardees will be contacted on a case-by-case basis should the initial grantees drop out for whatever reason.

Those selected will be given a liaison person at the World Federation and must immediately research flight options and take care of any visa requirements.

6. Pre-conference, high-level consultation events

On Sunday 4th December, all successful media grantees will be expected to attend the half-day finalisation conference of the “Cape Town Declaration on Science for Social Justice”. This is an independent, grass-roots initiative first begun in 2017 (details to follow).

Following this high-level consultation event on 4th December, a drinks reception hosted in your honour will be offered by your sponsors, namely, the Fonds de Recherche du Québec and the Department of Science and Technology (DST).

Secondly, on Monday 5th December, the World Federation of Science Journalists (WFSJ) will organise a joint workshop seeking your expertise (details to follow).

Therefore, the expected attendance from successful candidates is from Saturday 3rd December until Saturday 10th.

IMPORTANT! No flight booking should be made without the express approval of the WFSJ.

7. Payment conditions

In addition to ample interviewing opportunities and a reserved media working area, successful candidates will be provided with:

  • Bed & breakfast at a WSF2022 approved hotel;
  • free accommodation from 3 – 10 December, subject to flight options and media side trip planning (tbc);
  • free conference registration;
  • free access to all programme and side-event activities;
  • free onsite catering when offered by organisers or partners.

What will not be included nor reimbursed are:

  • visa application costs;
  • airport shuttles to and from the recipient’s home address; or to and from Cape Town airport; or to and from the conference hotel; or to and from any WSF side event locations;
  • daily sundry costs of any nature.

Please note that due to a host of factors, the pre-agreed economy flight costs sanctioned by the World Federation will only be reimbursed to grantees onsite at WSF2022. This will be in an exact US $ equivalent. This means that all applicants must be able to finance their own travel first with reimbursement later. Please think this through carefully.

If a journalist fails to show for whatever professional or professional reason, the grant support is forfeited.

If a journalist is receiving full or partial travel support from an employer or commissioning news outlet, this must be declared.

Mandatory participation throughout the conference and in any press briefings organised during WSF2022 is required.

Grantees are expected to publish at least one article or AV news report in any language about WSF2022 and to forward details to the organisers.

A simple feedback questionnaire regarding the scheme will also be circulated.

8. Information

Everything a candidate needs to know is included in this briefing. A Department of Science & Technology employee will liaise only with successful candidates. For any other pertinent issues about the Grant Scheme, please contact: WFSJ Manager, Florence Raboisson:

Note that in addition to this media grants programme, any science journalist or communicator worldwide can request WSF2022 participation at their own expense via the online registration page organised by the WSF delivery team. The needs of non-attending, but interested media will also be gladly facilitated.

This open call for applications is being coordinated with the World Federation of Science Journalists, a not-for-profit, non-governmental organisation, representing 70 science journalists’ associations of science and technology journalists from Africa, the Americas, the Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Middle East.

We would encourage all candidates to research their national or pan-African branch and to become a member:

9. Programme updates

Candidates are encouraged to keep a close eye on the WSF2022 programme online as it develops in the run up to the meeting.

We would also ask you to follow us @SciComEU & @WFSJ.

On Friday 16th September, SciCom – Making Sense of Science will launch a new joint video explaining the background to Science Forum South Africa and the World Science Forum with snippets of their most recent panel and interviews with key scientific partners.

This can be found on and will help give you a flavour of what to expect. 

When preparing your short motivation statement about what this conference and social justice means to you, the following themes may provide some guidance as to your specific interest areas and speakers you might like to meet:

  • “Shaping Humanity” how social sciences shape our human experiences and behaviours to improve the quality of life for all human beings, and the world we live in, including a better understanding of what is required to uplift people in a sustainable manner.
  • “Preparing people for the knowledge economy” the attitudes, education, experience, and abilities required individually and collectively to succeed in the knowledge economy, with a specific focus on achieving gender and racial balance in an optimal functioning system of innovation.
  • “Open science and open innovation for Africa’s development” what the impact will be on Africa’s development if a concerted drive were made to intensify collaboration among all stakeholders in the scientific and innovation enterprise, including through the enhanced dissemination and sharing of research results to maximise impact.
  • “Science transforming society” how science, technology and innovation is changing society, how it is contributing to the improvement of the quality of life of all citizens and how we ensure ethical considerations are addressed and science-driven development is equitable and sustainable.
  • “A Better World” the sustainable solutions that science, technology and innovation can provide to global challenges like poverty, inequality, inclusive development and a secure society, with an emphasis on the value of enhanced international collaboration in addressing these shared global challenges.
  • “Innovation shaping the industry of tomorrow” how the exponential pace of progress in science, technology and innovation is disrupting every industry in every country and how the so-called “fourth industrial revolution” will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another.

We genuinely appreciate your interest in attending World Science Forum 2022 Cape Town.

We hope to finance 25+ fully-funded grants, but aim to add more, so watch this space and good luck!

Milica Momcilovic, Buhle Khumalo and Aidan Gilligan